How to Help a Child Talk About Their Anxious Feelings
As adults, we can sometimes find it difficult to talk about our feelings when something is worrying us and making us experience anxious feelings. For a child, it can be even more confusing trying to process anxious feelings and emotions that they have not faced before. So, how do you get a child to talk about a problem if they do not wish to?
Many children will find alternative ways to vent their feelings of anxiety or simply try to hide them. We may see this when a child suddenly becomes withdrawn, suffers from disturbed sleep, is not eating or is showing signs of disruptive behavior that’s out of their normal character.
As parents, we may read these signs and instinctively know that something is wrong with our child, but it’s not always easy getting a child to open up about what is troubling them, and finding ways to encourage them to talk can be challenging.
Don’t Ignore the Issue
You won’t be able to help remove the issue by ignoring it. Even if you ask your child and they say nothing is wrong, the chances are if they are feeling so anxious that you have noticed a change, this will not get easier for them if they don’t get help to talk about it.
Rather than asking multiple leading questions or trying to guess the cause of the anxiety, try asking them how they feel. Give them space to respond. If they find it difficult to convey what they are feeling in words, try having them draw a picture of their feelings instead. If they’re not ready to share, they may get defensive. Give them a little more time rather than further adding to the anxiety by forcing them to talk.
Don’t Dismiss or Make Light of the Issue
Don’t be dismissive of the issue if it’s something they have to or need to do in a seemingly regular or normal life situation. Reassure them that it is ok to feel anxious or upset and that you’re there to help them through this. Sharing a scenario from your own experience may help because you show how it can be possible to overcome a difficulty and let them know you respect their feelings.
Moshi has a range of content designed to help your child better understand their anxious feelings and teaches them how to manage them. From tapping meditation techniques to deep breathing exercises for kids, there’s something for everyone in the family.